Archive for the ‘The Bible and Music’ Category

Part 1 Rebuttles on “Music: A Matter of Taste or Biblical Analysis?”

 

Below are rebuttles that came in to the music article, posted back in February.  There were a couple social media forms through which these responses came.  Since there was overlap in some of the rebuttles from this various channels, what I have done is selected the best of the rebuttles and provided my response to those accordingly.  Please enjoy.

 

Isaac Anderson, “Thank you so much Daniel for your extremely thoughtful, and engaging paper. One point I would like to pick at, and I’m afraid it is your main point, is your explanation of the backbeat. “The backbeat constantly goes against the natural rhythmic patterns of music which God created. ”

Why is this? You say it causes confusion, but I don’t understand how this is so, the musical piece in and of itself is still a symmetrical pattern. How does having the emphasis on a different beat create confusion?

I think this may have to end up being something we agree to disagree on, but in your paper, I believe we have come to an understanding on where we stand and thats awesome 😀 😀

Thank you for this hard work Daniel :)”

Isaac, thank you for asking that question so I can better clarify that point. 🙂 The major thrust I want to leave you all with is the truth that Scripture has much to say about the music in a believer’s life, and it thereby behooves us as believers to be constantly “proving what is acceptable unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:10).”

While I address your question on the confusion aspect of the backbeat, please keep in mind the paper in its entirety (as all of it is essential together) and then also the other points that were addressed by the backbeat.

Okay, so let’s ask this question, “Why does the backbeat cause confusion when in and of itself is still a symmetrical pattern?”

It does constantly go against the natural rhythmic pattern and emphasis of music (duple form), which we had concluded God to be the creator of, since without these patterns music is dead.

The accompanying lyrics in the melody follow the natural rhythmic pattern of music. For example, the natural emphasis will tend to be on the 1st and 3rd beats; this merely follows natural poetic form.

With the repetitive usage of the backbeat (always replacing the emphasis off from God’s natural emphasis to the 2nd and 4th beats), the rhythm has become an entity of itself. This means that if we removed the melody and harmony, the rhythm would still exist in the form of the constant driving backbeat (an over excess of rhythm (which is talked about)). Rather than complimenting the melody, the backbeat is continuously contradicting it. What happens is these two musical components are fighting against each other for dominance in the music when they should be working with each other and kept in their proper priority as Scripture speaks about. Because the melody (and lyrics) and rhythm are working against each other, this does not create unity but rather a music of confusion since there is no clear message, but rather two contradicting ones.

Remember, the Beatles said that their music (with this backbeat), “is capable of causing emotional instability, disorganized behavior, rebellion and even revolution.”

You may ask, “Why am I quoting secularists?” These music artists know full well what their music (with the backbeat) does and are honest about it. Furthermore, we may expect something like this said from a Christian defending what is being brought forth; it should get a hold of our attention even more so when the lost world is saying this about type of music. Look at the words, ‘emotional instability, disorganized behavior’- confusion.

Let’s build on this with the ensuing idea.

When the melody is present and the lyrics are God-honoring while the music extensively utilizes the backbeat, we have conflict taking place. These lyrics and melody ought to minister to us spiritually and seeks to draw us that way. But then at the same time the continuous backbeats in the music (thereby over-usage of rhythm) because rhythm affects the body, elicits a desired sensual, physical response to the music- it is appealing to our old fleshly nature. Remember that God’s desire is for Christians to be focused on the spiritual while Satan’s desire is that our eyes are off the spiritual and focused on the physical. Now, we have this music that is trying to draw us closer to God spiritually (through the melody and also the words) while trying to draw us closer to the physical, sensual aspect (in the unnatural backbeat form). But, how can music please God and Satan at the same time? The backbeat thereby creates confusion and distracts the believer from the spiritual through the physical aspect of its unnatural rhythm. Scripture tells us that Christ can have nothing to with the devil (2 Corinthians 6). These two things cannot be joined together. Two masters cannot be served. Even James talks about how a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways; a music in the which rhythmic part (in the unnatural backbeat) dominates the God-ordained order of melody is communicating two separate, contradictory ideas, creating a music of confusion.

But as we have seen in 1 Corinthians 14:33- “For God is not the author of confusion [instability, disorder, confusion], but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

Just for thought: Can this music really be from God when God is not the author of confusion? And why is it being used in worship of a holy God?

Hopefully, I was better able to answer your question on the backbeat creates confusion, Isaac. Thank you again for the reply. 😀 And yes, there is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree if it comes to that. We’ll be in heaven because of what Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. While these other Scriptural doctrines/topics are very important, at least they do not affect our eternal destiny. 😀 Thanks again!

Austin Harrison- “So here is a new question to stir the pot.  How can you justify going to places that play that music? The grocery store, Target, Walmart, etc. You are intentionally placing yourself in an environment where your ears will receive the sounds. Seems a bit inconsistent, if your typed standards are are strong as mentioned in posts.”

Thank you for your reply, Austin. 🙂 Unfortunately, you cannot go anywhere today without being affected by this sensual music. It is, like you said, everywhere you go (even too in the workplace).

Jesus Christ prayed to God the Father concerning believers in John 17:15, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”

We as Christian are here to stay on earth for a purpose after our salvation- to carry out the Great Commission as defined in Matthew 28:18-20). God could have just taken us home to heaven to get us out of this mess, but He left us with the purpose that we be shining lights for Christ. Jesus said in Mathew 5:15-16, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (we diminish the light when we conform to the evil of the world (Romans 12:2)). Jesus wants us to be kept from the evil in this world, not taken out of the world. We cannot be lights for Christ secluded in our own homes (and mind you, this music has the potential to penetrate inside the home as well; it is everywhere.) We as Christians are to be in the world, but not partakers of the evil in the world. Saying that we will not go anywhere but confine ourselves to our homes is not the solution to “I love listening to this inappropriate music”. That is not a Biblical solution (yes, we are to be separate from the evils of the world (in our example: rock, rap music, other sensual kinds) but we were placed by God in the world for a purpose.) It is like jumping from the ditch in one side of the road to the ditch in the other side of the road. There are Godly folks on the music issue that say, “Just play it extremely safe so there’s no possibility.” (In essence, make another fence around God’s Word). The problem is: you will get ‘burned’ because your thinking is not based upon the Word of God. We have to be careful about making man-made rules that act as a fence around God’s Word. We ought to let God’s Word speak for Itself and the follow it accordingly. Staying confined in a home and not going about normal activities is in essence jumping to the other ditch. God’s Word is our rule of authority, not our thoughts.

Because this wrong music is everywhere, it is even more important that we are constantly walking in the Spirit when we are out and about in our normal activities. Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” It is important that we put on the armor of God to withstand Satan’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6). Satan would so desire the we as Christians lock ourselves in our homes and never go to the grocery store or out to eat, so that the lost do not see our light. (and yes, there are certain places that Christians ought to stay away from, but that is not for this discussion).

There are places you must go in life as part of the daily routine, work schedule, and what God has. And we need to remember to walk in the Spirit so we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. It is harmful to us. And sure, it would be nice if everywhere played good music, but the devil doesn’t work that way.

It is a given that we are going to get our feet dirty in the world; it’s life; it’s our sinful human nature; it’s going to happen, regardless what sin it is (sin is sin), what we say, or even the wrong thoughts we think. That is why we need to walk in the Spirit continually and be in God’s Word for a daily spiritual cleansing.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” -2 Corinthians 10:3-5

As we walk in the Spirit and have on the armor of God, we need to be constantly casting down everything that exalts itself above Christ. This is a constant battle from day to day for me, as I’m sure it is with all of us. Again, Christ does not want us out of the world, he wants us kept from the evil. We need to “proving what is acceptable unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:10)” and have the spirit of discernment to “be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

Thanks again for the question, Austin! God bless!

David Haymond, “I completely agree that we need to base our views entirely on Scripture. However, Scripture is clear in numerous places (Psalm 150 for example) that music, as an art form, is created by God and meant for His worship and our enjoyment. Unless there is Scriptural evidence that a particular style of music is evil, we are free to use that style in appropriate ways. In other words, I don’t think we need to have “Scriptural proof” that rock music (for example) is evil. Rather, [b]all music[/b] is good unless Scriptural principles say otherwise. I am not saying that Scripture does or does not condone rock; I am just pointing out that unless either Scripture forbids it, or the music itself is not appropriate for the context, it is not wrong.”

I absolutely agree with the usage of Psalm 150 in that any instrument can be used in worship to God. Nowhere does the Bible say that a certain instrument is inherently evil in and of itself (just a side note: you may have noticed drums in the first video of Ben Everson’s “My Hope is Jesus”- they were used inside God’s created rhythmic pattern). It is how instruments are played that can make them to be used for evil. The passage doesn’t reference style though- it’s about instruments. Can [b]all[/b] music really be good though since both God and the corrupted devil are musical…. since there is music that glorifies God and corrupted music that glorifies the devil? Thanks for the thoughts, David! 😀

Nathan L, “Daniel, I have a couple questions for you, and these are honest questions that I want to know your thoughts on, not sarcasm or mockery. 🙂 (also, if you answered the questions in your paper go ahead and point me to which post it was in. 🙂 )

First one: If Rock didn’t have a backbeat, would it still be wrong?

And I forgot the other question. :|”

It’s a good question. And here’s the answer (well… the backdrop to the answer): If Rock music did not have the backbeat, it would not be Rock music (it could become “folk’ or a ‘ballad’). The extensive utilization of the backbeat in Rock music is what sets Rock apart from any genre. With that said however, the rock-beat (backbeat-same thing) can be found in other genres as well. One of the aims is not to look at genres but evaluate the backbeat tool (a removing of the dominant emphasis on the 1st and 3rd beat as created by God in the duple form and placing this emphasis on the 2nd and 4th- which is against God’s created order) in light of Scripture.

The backbeat is not the only tool in Rock music. Under the section “Invading the Intimate Zone” how the voice is used is talked about and evaluated. So, removing the backbeat from Rock (which would make it not Rock right there) does not guarantee its goodness. Depends on what else is being used. Hopefully, this answers your question. 🙂

I must say that your second question was the easiest one to answer. 😛 I very much liked it. 😉

 

 

So here is my post finally…. Over a couple months later and I don’t know how many hours. XD I attempted to break it down to make it an easier read. I just want to note that writing about the topic of music is hard enough… trying to convey my thoughts across to you all in this comparatively small post is even harder. Yes, 11,000 words is still small believe it or not…

I would like to thank Luke Remegaldo for helping me out with the music paper and the encouragement he has been to me in taking this unpopular stand. I would also like to thank you all for voicing your thoughts in this thread; it has really helped me dig deep into the Scripture in knowing why I believe what I believe.

The Intent

I realize that music is a very touchy, hot, and personal issue for each individual. Our musical choices are so much a part of us that when something negative is said of that music, it’s almost like an attack on each of us individually. Please understand that I endeavor to communicate in a spirit of love (Ephesians 4:15). It is my prayer that as you read this paper, you would be open, ponder what is said, see if these things are true in the Scriptures, and be willing to let God’s Spirit (not my position) lead you accordingly.

The Question

Does God really care about what music we listen to or play? Should the discussion of music be shaped by our personal preferences of likes and dislikes? Or, should we let God’s Word help shape our musical choices? Better yet, does the Bible have a bearing on the issue of music?

Not only does the Bible reference music hundreds of times, but we also see that God Himself is musical. We cannot leave God out of the equation when discussing music. Many a time it’s said that God doesn’t care either way in such and such (you name the subject); all He cares about is the heart. While the heart is definitely important, God does care how we live our lives as believers because of who He is; God has given us His Word to help us along in daily-living that we follow. In so doing though, it is vitally important that we do not place the cart in front of the ox, that we do not follow the rules in an attempt to earn God’s merit.

Christ said in John 14:13, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If you don’t love Christ, don’t bother with the commandments. Why? When we live by the rules without love to earn God’s favor, we will mar the name of Christ. First and foremost, we need to have a love relationship with Jesus Christ. Only then as a result of that love relationship, it will only be natural that we would want to follow God’s principles because we love Him so much.

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” –Philippians 1:9-11

Even in Paul’s prayer, he desires that the believer’s love for Jesus abounds in knowledge and judgment so that we can approve things that are excellent. Out of our love for Jesus Christ comes the desire to live our lives by God’s Holy Word.

The Need

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” –Ephesians 5:8-10

Because we as Christians are light in the Lord, we are to walk as children of light with Christ’s love. And we do this by proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. But sadly, Luke 16:8 accurately describes a problem that exists in Christianity today.

“And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” –Luke 16:8

It is indeed a sobering scenario when the children of darkness are wiser than the children of light. Too often do we as Christians stick our heads in the sand on Biblical issues and refuse to accept what the lost world acknowledges. This is indeed sad.

We also ought to make it our aim to allow God’s Word to speak for itself, and not let our personal interpretation interfere (I am speaking to myself as well by the way. Remember when my finger goes out, there are three pointing back at me). Why?

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” -2 Peter 1:20-21

Before we delve deep into the music discussion on what is acceptable unto the Lord, we must first address and come to a Biblical conclusion on the major question, “Is music moral or amoral?” What I mean by this is: “Is there good and evil music? Does music by itself have power? Or is music some neutral channel?” In presenting our case we will take a look at our Creator God and the devil Satan.

God Is Musical

Let’s read the following passages in seeing if God is musical: “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” –Zephaniah 3:17 (emphasis mine)

“And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.” –Zechariah 9:14 (emphasis mine)

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” -1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (emphasis mine)

In these three separate Scripture passages, we see that God both sings and plays instruments. Pretty cool, isn’t it? Our God is musical! And because God is musical, we cannot leave Him out of the discussion.

Psalm 42:8 further shows how that God has a song, “Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

God is not only musical as a Being, but has also made His creation musical- even the stars themselves sing and bring glory to God.

“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” –Job 38:7

(Science has once again caught up to the Bible with NASA being able to hear the stars bring forth music with special technology.)

The Devil is Musical

Our question now is, “Is the devil musical?” Let’s take a look at two passages to answer this question.

“Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” –Ezekiel 28:13-15 (emphasis mine)

“Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” –Isaiah 14:11-15 (emphasis mine)

The devil has built-in musical instruments! Before his fall, Lucifer was perfect in his ways and was the chief cherubim. He used the musical instruments that God created in him to bring glory to the Creator God. But when Satan sinned and fell, everything in him was corrupted. In his five prideful “I will’s” he rebelled because he wanted to be like the Most High God; the devil wanted all the glory for himself instead of JEHOVAH God. As a result, Satan’s pomp and music (stringed instruments) were brought down to the sheh-ole (grave/hell from the Hebrew 7585). The devil with built-in musical instruments was corrupted in every way. This perfect music with which he once glorified God has been corrupted. Now, Satan uses this corrupt music to glorify himself. Think about it… what glorifies the devil? From these Scripture passages we see that there is music (music without words also) that glorifies the devil.

Ought this not to raise concern for believers? Can we really turn a blind eye to the topic of music when one of Satan’s greatest tools is music itself as it is a part of him?

But If My Heart is Right…

My friend asked me, “But if the music is bad and your heart is right, isn’t it alright then?” If your heart is in the right place, does that overrule?

David had the right heart attitude when he was bringing back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 6, but he wasn’t doing it God’s way. God had clearly set down the guidelines on how the ark should be carried (1 Chronicles 15); these rules were ignored and it was transported by oxen, just like the heathen Philistines did it. As a result, Uzzah died. David’s heart was right, but he clearly ignored the requirements that God had laid down. Consequences followed.

In Genesis 4 Cain wanted to give God the best that he could, but he didn’t follow the example that God had his parents follow. As a result, God did not accept his sacrifice.

When the golden calf was made in Exodus 32, the children of Israel were told that this was the god that brought them out of Egypt. In their minds they were worshipping JEHOVAH God, but they were not following God’s way. They may have had good intentions, but they completely ignored God’s laws. God was very displeased with the Israelites.

Yes, good music can be played with a wrong heart attitude and be just as sinful. But the point in all this that I am making is to show how Scripture clearly shows us that having a right heart attitude without following the commands God has laid out in His Word does not make something good.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22

In essence Samuel was saying to Saul, “Look Saul, you may have good heart intentions, but God deems obedience to be of much more importance.” If your boss told you to clean up the office, and instead, you make him a card expressing how much you respect and look up to him, is your boss going to be happy? You disobeyed him. Yet how many times in the Christian life do we know God’s commands but disobey them and then try to speak our love to God by saying how much we love Him.

God said, “To obey is better than sacrifice.”

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With this question of the heart addressed, we build up to the case being presented. God is musical. The devil is musical; his originally God-honoring music has been corrupted in his fall. These are opposites: i.e. there is music that glorifies God, and there is music that glorifies the devil.

Again we pose the question, “Is music moral or amoral? Is there good music and evil music?”

The Case Resolved: Scripture Affirms Music Cannot Be Amoral

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” –Proverbs 15:3

We will culminate the idea of God and Satan being musical as we look at the following Scripture passage and see the power that the music alone has.

The context: Saul had just recently disobeyed and turned his back on God; as a result, God had rejected him for being Israel’s king. With this in mind we read the passage.

“But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent In matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.” -1 Samuel 16:14-18

“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” -1 Samuel 16:23 (Notice first off that the Bible makes no indication on whether David sung or not: the emphasis is on the music itself.)

From this passage in 1 Samuel, we can draw three points on how music has an impact:

1. Music has a physical impact.

“…so Saul was refreshed…” The Hebrews word for ‘refreshed’ literally means to breathe freely.

2. Music has an emotional impact.

“…and was well…” The Hebrew word for ‘well’ means to be glad. So first of all, Saul breathed freely, then his emotions were put at rest and he was glad.

3. Music has a spiritual impact.

“… and the evil spirit departed from him.” First off this evil spirit was sent on Saul from God as a result of his rebellion and God’s Spirit leaving him. We see in 1 Kings 22 for just one example, where God asked the evil spirits who would go for Him to deceive King Ahab into going into battle to Ramothgilead so that he would die as prophesied. One of these spirits then came on wicked King Ahab. This was a demonic influence. It is important to note that this was more than just emotional; it is spiritual as the context implies. We also note in the New Testament that evil spirits talked (Acts 19:15-16). These are the same words, ‘evil spirits’ that were described as coming on Saul as a result of him turning from God; they were indeed demonic influences.

The evil spirit departed because of the music that was playing. Music not only impacted Saul physically and emotionally, but also impacted him spiritually.

(the 3 basic points found in this passage were taken from Evangelist Ben Everson’s message on “The Power of Music”)

Also, in 2 Kings 3:14-15 we read, “And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.”

Music was used in this passage to pave the way for the hand of the LORD coming upon the prophet Elisha.

To ponder before reading further: Since there is music that drives away evil spirits (as in the 1 Samuel 16:23 case), could there not be music that brings in the evil spirits? (we are simply considering the other side of the coin)

Jim Morrison (1943-1971) was the lead singer in the rock band, “The Doors”. Morrison called this band “The Doors” because he viewed their music as doors to the spiritual realm. At times he would refuse in fear to come out on stage to perform knowing full-well that when he did, he would be possessed by demons. In these instances his band would go out and start pounding (noise- no music at all) and pounding until he became demon-possessed and came out on stage to perform (“Chrisitan Rock” series by David Byers).

Music alone is able to notify you of what is going on. Take for example that you are reading a book while a movie is playing rather loudly in another room and hear the music in the movie playing. By the music alone, you would be able to identify what type of scene is happening: suspense, horror, romance, happy, distressed, childish, someone just died, etc… Why is this? Music communicates a message, even without words.

Here’s an interesting quote I read in “Sound Roots” (Dana Everson) about the power of the music by itself:

What’s Wrong with Christian Rock by Jeff Godwin wrote: “No one can deny that the music of Elvis Presley and the Beatles sent millions of teenagers all over the world into sobbing, screaming, hysterical frenzies. If C-Rock’s [Christian Rock] natural philosophy is true [that good words to rock music overrides the music], then that mob insanity surrounding Elvis and the Beatles was the result of their LYRICS, not their music. Here are the lyrics to two of the biggest hits Presley and the Fab Four every produced:TEDDY BEAR [Presley] “Just wanna be your teddy bear/ Don’t wann be a lion/ Cause lions play too rough/ Don’t wanna be a tiger/ Cause tigers aren’t the kind you love enough…” I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND [the Beatles] “Oh yeah, I’ll tell you something’/ I think you’ll understand/ When I say that somethin’/ I wanna hold your hand…” Sorry C-Rock fans, but those lyrics had nothing to do with the mass hysteria surrounding Elvis and the Beatles. Something MUCH bigger than the dim-witted stanzas of Pop/Rock music turned those little girls into screaming maniacs writhing in sexual frenzy.  The power behind Presley and the Beatles’ success was made up of two elements: the MUSIC and the spirit BEHIND the music- the spirit of antichrist.”

All of this then raises concern: Since Scripture has clearly shown that God is musical, the devil is musical, and that music is a moral instrument and cannot be amoral, then what ought the music in a believer’s life reflect?

From this concern alone we cannot stick our heads in the sand as believers and say, “The Bible has no bearing; as long as I like what I like and you like what you like, then everything is alright.” Friends, it is for this reason that the lost world around us has become wiser than the Christian community (Luke 16:8); they recognize what some Christians refuse to admit that music is moral. In the dark day and age in which we live, it behooves us as believers to live according to the Word of God and not shift with the latest trends of the world. It behooves us to constantly be “proving that which acceptable unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:10)” in a spirit of love and discernment. With this in mind, we again pose the question: “What ought the music in the life of a believer reflect?”

The Song of the Believer

If God says something once, we ought to pay attention. You can imagine that God really wants our attention if He makes the effort to say something three separate times! Both Dr. Dana Everson and Dr. Frank Garlock note how that these repeated ideas are located in each of the three major sections of the Old Testament- historical, poetic, and prophets- as shown in the following passages.

“The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” -Exodus 15:2 (emphasis mine)

“The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” -Psalm 118:14 (emphasis mine)

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” –Isaiah 12:2 (emphasis mine)

The word ‘song’ used in all three of these verses (and only these three verses) comes from the Hebrew (2176) word zimrath, which means instrumental music. This has nothing to do with the words of the music but is in sole reference to the music itself. Why is this so important? We sometimes tend to think that as long as the words are glorifying God then it does not matter what type of music is used with the words. Yet Scripture has already shown that not to be the case. And furthermore, what does this passage say?

The LORD God is our strength, song, and salvation. Because God is our song/music as believers, our music ought to be such that reflects God’s glory. This is a natural by-product of being filled with the Spirit as talked about in Ephesians 5:18-19- “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:16 also says, “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Notice that the music being made here is to be to the Lord for God is our song. (:

Before salvation God was not our song/music. This song that God gives us as believers is a new song. Does 2 Corinthians 5:17’s message to the man in Christ who is a new creature of “old things are passed away; behold all things are become new”, apply to music as well? God definitely thinks so for look at the following example in Scripture.

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” -Psalms 40:2-3

When God made us a new creature in Christ Jesus, he put a new song in our mouth, a song that praises God. As a result of this new, God-glorifying song, many will see, fear, and come to salvation.

Notice: this passage shows a difference in music that ought to be present from before we were saved in contrast to after we were saved. This new song is different from the old worldly song. Why? The lost notice a change, a difference, in this believer’s music given the words “many shall see it”. This ought to be the natural result of the new creation in Christ Jesus as all things (including music) are becoming new. But I have a question, “If the old song is just as good, why do we need the new song?” This new song is that which brings glory to God. This came about after God delivered us out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay. What is significant about this?

The word ‘horrible’ comes from the Hebrew (7588) root “shaw-one” which literally means a pit of noise. Secular rock artists have honestly said about rock and roll, “It’s a noise we make, that’s all. You could be kind and call it music.” (Mike Jagger of the Rolling Stones, p.19 of “Music in the Balance”). It is from this pit of noise that God has delivered us. Why are we using the old world’s music to attempt to promote Christ when God has given us a new, better song that is distinct from the old song? We are confusing the Gospel of Christ when it is corrupted with the old, worldly music. 2Corinthians 6:15a asks the rhetorical question of, “what concord hath Christ with Belial?” Nothing.

The believers’ music ought to be such that brings glory to God and is distinct from the old song. Our music ought not to be such that glorifies the devil, but the LORD our strength, salvation, and song. Now with this Scriptural foundation laid, we ask, “What music characterizes the song of the believer? And, what music characterizes the old song?” In the attempt to answer these questions, let’s return to the basic components of music and the nature of music itself, all kept in the light of Scripture.

Yes, now may be a good time for that cup of coffee or hot chocolate, that is, if you are still awake.

The Nature of Music

Music is made up of three components: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Let’s take a look at each of these components, how they fit together, and an important parallel between these components and how they relate to the spirit, mind, and body of man.

Melody is the horizontal arrangement of sounds/notes. This would be the first thing to be recognized in songs like for example, “Amazing Grace” or “The Star-Spangled Banner”. How did you know, for example, the song being played was “Amazing Grace”? By the melody- arrangement of notes.

Harmony is the vertical aspect of music. It is the sounds which are heard when the individual parts collide. It can be thought as a joint which joins the melody and rhythm together in a musical piece. You have probably heard the term if you are in a musical group, “Are you in harmony together?” When all the different parts in that musical piece are together, they are said to be in harmony. Again, harmony is that which is heard when all the parts come together.

Rhythm is the life-blood in music; without it music is dead and never moves forward. As the pulse is essential for the heart, even so rhythm is essential for music. Say aloud the following measure a few times, “1, 2, 3, 4”. You will notice that the natural inclination is to place an emphasis on the first beat: “1, 2, 3, 4.” This natural emphasis on the first beat simply shows the beginning of a new measure. Without it there would be no telling where a measure begins. A simple look at rhythm shows it in its 2 basic forms: duple and triple form.

Rhythm in its Basic Form

Duple Form: employs the basic, “1, 2″ “1, 2″. This is the foundation for certain time signatures such as 4/4, 2/4, 2/2, etc. The quadruple rhythmic form (1, 2, 3, 4) obtains its roots from the basic duple form; therefore, we maintain our focus on the simplest most basic forms.

Say out loud the following example to see how it fits in 4/4 timing: “1, 2, 3, 4″ “1, 2, 3, 4″. This duple form is a natural foundational structure on how God created music. Once I heard of this foundational musical concept, my attention was drawn to the natural emphasis on the first and third beats in the music I heard. To help you understand, listen to the following example:

Note: This is song is in 4/4 timing (where there are 4 beats in the measure and the quarter note gets the beat). As you listen, note how that the nature of the music with the lyrics, instrumentation, and singers lends to a natural emphasis on the 1st and 3rd beat (the nature of duple form which God has created).

Triple Form: employs the basic, “1, 2, 3″ “1, 2, 3″. This is the foundation for certain time signatures such as 3/4, 6/8, 12/8, etc. Once again, the natural tendency is for the emphasis to be placed on the first beat because this is foundational to how God designed music. An example of this would be “Eidelweiss” from the The Sound of Music or the well-known hymn, “Love Lifted Me”.

Mixed Form: this includes duple form and triple form mixed together. This is the foundation for time signatures such as 5/4, 7/4. It’s tendency is to create an uncertain feeling: follow along the 5/4 timing: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5″ “1, 2, 3, 4, 5″ Once again this is a mix of the two foundational rhythmic patterns designed by God. (special thanks to Andrew C for clarifying where the emphasis falls in this rhythmic pattern)

You may be wondering, “Okay Daniel, what is your point in saying all of this?” Catch this. This is very important. Without the duple and triple patterns, music would be absolutely dead. You cannot have music without either the duple or triple pattern. As we have seen from Scripture, God is the creator of music. Duple and triple forms are part and parcel of music- the life of it-, thereby implying that God is creator of that also.

Syncopation: is basically the shifting of the natural emphasis to a place that the listener is not expecting. A good parallel: just as the sprinkling of salt is used to bring out the flavor in meat, so syncopation can be used likewise in music. However, too much salt on meat would bring harm to a person. Is all syncopation wrong? No.

The Back-beat This happens when the natural emphasis of duple form “1, 2, 3, 4″ is switched to emphasize the unnatural beats “1, 2, 3,4“? Say the following measures out loud, emphasizing the highlighted beats to grasp this concept: “1, 2, 3, 4” “1, 2, 3, 4“. Basically, the emphasis has been switched from the natural emphasis in the basic rhythmic patterns of duple form to the unnatural beats of 2 and 4.

You may be so familiar with the backbeat because of its extensive usage in Rock music. However, the back (rock) beat is not limited to Rock genre and can be applied to many things.

Listen to the following recording in 4/4 timing. Remember, the nature of music is to lend a natural emphasis to “1, 2, 3, 4″. In this example notice how that the emphasis has switched to the 2nd and 4th beats in the music. You can hear this switched emphasis in the music. (helpful hint: the backbeat starts around the 15 second mark)

Yes, that song you just listened to is supposed to be “Christian” music. You may be asking, “So… what’s wrong with this? Let’s take a further in depth look at the backbeat.

1. The backbeat constantly goes against the natural rhythmic patterns of music which God created.

Rock music extensively uses the backbeat throughout its music. Its unnatural repetitive rhythm in the form of the driving backbeat constantly goes against the natural tendency of music. Rather than supporting the melody, this unnatural rhythm becomes an entity of itself. It contradicts rather than complimenting the melody. Not everything can be dominant, and later on we will see what Scripture shows to be a proper order. This constant driving beat brings about a sound of confusion.

The Beatles, openly honest about their music (in which is the extensive utilization of the backbeat), are quoted as saying, “Our music is capable of causing emotional instability, disorganized behavior, rebellion and even revolution.”

Rock artists also purposefully utilize the backbeat continuously throughout the song, repetitively, in an attempt to control the listener’s mind. The constant repetition has the ability to do just that; once done, they can slip their message in at a sublimal level without our noticing it. (“Christian Rock” series by David Byers). Yet does not the Scripture command believers to be filled with the Spirit?

Scripture also tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:33- “For God is not the author of confusion [instability, disorder, confusion], but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

Yet the extensive usage of the backbeat brings forth a music of confusion. It does not follow, but goes against the order or the natural rhythmic patterns created by God.

2. A music of rebellion From a historical perspective, the turn of the 20th century brought in the contemporary classical age where rules in music begun to be cast off, reflecting a society that was casting off absolutes and morals. With the 60’s, there came about the outbreak and rebellion against God’s morals and absolutes. This cry of rebellion was evident in audience’s shaking fists as they stood on their seats at Rock concerts. A major upheaval and rebellion against rules broke forth. But why? Why these actions? It is the rhythm that commands a physical response. The backbeat (unnatural) caused that unnatural response- a response of rebellion. The usage of the backbeat is a response of rebellion that helped throttle the 60’s.

William J. Schaffer, author of “Rock Music”, is not opposed to rock music yet he shows how that it is used to alter consciousness. Garlock and Woetzel quote him as saying the following:

William J. Schaffer wrote:“…rock has acted as a catalyst, a force uniting and amplifying ideas and feelings. It is a medium, a means of communicating emotions… the medium is the message. Associated with rock, for instance, is a cult or irrationality, a reverence for the instinctual, the visceral- and a distrust of reason and logic; this form of anti-intellectualism can be highly dangerous, can lead to totalitarian modes of thought and action. Linked with this anti-intellectualism can be interest in the occult: magic, superstition, exotic religious thought, anything contrary to the main currents of Western thought. Also directly connected is an obsession with the unconscious mind; the force of drug culture has been in promise to reveal the hidden, instinctual man, to free the individual from restrictions and limitations of his conscious mind and his gross physical body.”

This is an eye-opening quote where a promoter of Rock talks about how this music (which again, extensively utilizes the backbeat) is in essence a song of rebellion. Just a thought…. Do you think this music should be present in the life of a believer’s musical choices? (Philippians 4:8)

From reading this, should we really be taken by surprise? Satan rebelled against God and with his corrupted music used it as a song of rebellion against God. The devil desires glory for himself, not God. Sin, rebellion, inappropriate physical responses… all glorify the devil. And God deems rebellion as no light offense… it’s as a sin of witchcraft.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” -1 Samuel 15:23

So… ought we to use a music of rebellion to glorify a holy and perfect God?

3. The backbeat also elicits a sensual bodily response -1 John 2:16

As we have noted and will see in depth further along, it is the beat that commands a physical response. A physical response to music is not in and of itself bad; take a look at most marches which emphasize the natural rhythmic patterns… the desired response may be to march along but there is nothing wrong with this. When it has crossed that line and elicits a sensual bodily response, it is sinful. The unnatural backbeat helps elicit these inappropriate body movements. While God’s intent is for us to be focused on spiritual things (Matthew 6:33), but Satan wants the exact opposite- physical things. Furthermore, the devil will use the physical to draw us away from God. Look at the following passage.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” -1 John 2:16

Satan seeks to use fleshly things to satisfy when only God can give true satisfaction. We may ask, “But why is music with backbeats so popular? So easy to enjoy?” It’s not unnatural… it’s because our body is the first thing that responds to its excessive, unnatural rhythm- that driving beat. And because our bodies respond to rhythm so directly, it is of upmost importance that we use caution. Satan twists what God designed to be holy and corrupts those things through rock music for instance and the message and sensual responses that come along with it.

I will be honest with you; there are songs with backbeats that I like; they make me feel good. Lest you think I’m writing against music that I don’t like, that’s not the case. I like it. But why don’t I listen to it? If my musical choices were based off of what I like and dislike, I would listen to that music. But it’s because of what the Bible has to say about music and what ought to be present in the life of a believer- that’s why, friends. Can we really call the music topic a Romans 14 “meat offered to idols”?

Jesus said in Matthew 15:16-18, “…Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”

Meat goes in and out of you. It does not defile the heart. Music goes in though and affects the heart, affects the mind, and affects the body. In music lies the potential to defile the heart as we have seen thus far.

Let’s stop, revisit, and ponder the scenario. The Creator God is Musical as well as Satan. Before his fall Satan’s music glorified God, but then after he and his instruments were cast down into hell and corrupted, he uses music to glorify himself, not God.

Is it all coming together? The devil fallen from heaven, corrupted in his rebellion, seeks to glorify himself through one of his major tools that of music. This is a music in which the backbeat continually goes against the natural way God created music, a music of rebellion, a music that elicits sensual responses in contradiction to Godly morals, a music ridden with an overuse of rhythm and repetition in an attempt to control an individual. Does this sound like Godly music or devilish music? The answer should be quite clear.

But our analysis of this music does not stop here. There is an important parallel in relation to music that Garlock, Woetzel, and Byers address in their musical studies, which we will look into in this next section in the grid of Scripture.

As in Life, So in Music

As was mentioned earlier, man possesses spirit, mind, and body. In the life of a believer, these three aspects ought to be kept in proper order. What is this order that Scripture talks about?

1. Spiritual things

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you –Matthew 6:33

The first priority in the Christian life is to keep their focus on eternity, on Jesus Christ (spiritual things). God promises that when we do this, He will take care of the rest.

2. Mental things

2 Corinthians 10:3-5- “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

We as believers are not fighting a physical battle against the enemy as this passage points out. We are to take every thought captive into the obedience of Christ. Our minds need to be sharp. If we choose to be passive in spirit and mind, we will lose the battle as believers.

Take note though that if we do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ and are not walking with Him, then it does not matter how sharp our minds are. We will lose the battle to the devil every time. Spiritual things first then mental things.

3. Physical needs

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” –Romans 13:14

“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” -1 Corinthians 9:25-27

Sure, it is important to live and have the physical needs met. But, these passages warn of not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. The physical realm needs to be kept in check… not annihilated… in check. When we put on Jesus Christ and seek Him first, remember God promises to take care of the rest, even our physical needs as Matthew 6 clearly implies. When our physical needs become more important than Christ and keeping our minds sharp (which comes along with that), we are in danger of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and disqualifying ourselves as upright Christians.

We would agree that a Christian whose priorities are temporal things in this life is a sensual Christian- someone with misplaced priorities. And how many of us can plead guilty of this? Okay, maybe it’s just me. XD (I doubt it though…  ) Our focus as believers ought to be first-off on spiritual things (Matthew 6:33), then mental things (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), and lastly physical things (Romans 13:14 & 1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

Now… how does this all relate to music?

Just as man has spirit, mind, and body, even so music has melody, harmony, and spirit. In our study of music we will further see how the three different elements of music relate to the three different aspects of man and what the priority in music ought to be.

1. The Melody affects Man’s Spirit.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” –Ephesians 5:18-19

As a result of being filled with the Spirit, we will make melody in our heart to the Lord. It does not say that harmony or rhythm are results of Spirit-filledness, but rather a melody. When our spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s song will be on our hearts.

Melody- The Priority: Both Ephesians and Colossians make special note of the melody being priority in the Spirit-filled Christian. Isaiah 51:3 also says, “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Note again that in this verse that the LORD talks about the melody. The melody ought to be the prominent aspect in music.

Just as spiritual things ought to be the priority in the life of a believer, so ought the melody to have prominence in the believer’s music.

2. The Harmony affects Man’s Mind.

Have you ever heard a musical composition performed that was out of tune? For some reason the instruments were just not in harmony together…. Yeah, it didn’t sound too good, did it? But how did you know they were out of tune? What told you? It was with your mind that you were able to discern that the piece was not in harmony. It is with your mind that you are able to tell what type of chord is being played, if the composition is being played in harmony, etc.

It is the harmony that tells you a chord is minor or major. For instance the chord (harmony) can communicate a sad sound, a joyful sound, etc, thereby affecting one emotionally. It is the harmony that affects the mind.

Harmony- The Second in Priority: Just as the mind is of second importance in the life of a believer, even so the harmony (the mental part of music) ought to be second to the melody. Not everything in life can have prominence. The harmony is that which joins the melody and rhythm; it is helpful tool over against a dominant one.

3. The Rhythm affects Man’s Body. This is perhaps the easiest parallel to see because we can watch the body’s reaction to music. Have you ever been at the store, restaurant, or maybe just at home, and you find yourself responding to the music physically, whether it be tapping a foot, snapping your fingers, bopping your head, swaying your body, etc? Yes, you may have not even realized it at first, but the question is, “What part of the music brought about this physical response?” It wasn’t the melody or harmony; it was the rhythm. Remember, without rhythm no music exists because it has no forward motion.

To better grasp this concept, listen (and watch) to the following compositions of “Amazing Grace” (song used merely for an example). One version will be played in a normal hymn-style version; the other version as you will notice utilizes the backbeat. The point in using these examples is merely to demonstrate how that the rhythm affects the body.

(listening to a sample will suffice for catching the example)

From listening to these two examples, did one bring about a more physical response than the other? They were both renditions of “Amazing Grace”. The first one had a rhythm kept in check whereas in the second demonstration you could witness from the video alone the body movements that came as a result of the excessive amount of rhythm (which was in the unnatural form of the backbeat by the way); it was also irreverent to use as worship to God for a believer. The point we are making in all of this is simple: it is the rhythm that affects the body. Melody alone whilst it has the series of notes that create the tune does not move unless it has rhythm/pulse. Neither does the harmony do this. The rhythm is the essential ingredient and hence must be kept in proper check.

Dr. Garlock quotes secularist Simon Frith in his book: “The sexuality of music is usually referred to in terms of its rhythm- it is the beat that commands a direct physical response.”  This is interesting indeed that an unsaved individual recognizes this concept.

Jesus said in John 7:38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow (pulse) rivers of living water.”

The word ‘flow’ in this passage comes from the base Greek word ‘rheo’ from which we derive the English word ‘rhythm’. With a grasp on this basic truth, let’s consider a parallel of this application.

A river that has no flow becomes stagnant and lifeless; a heart that has no pulse is dead; music that has no rhythm is dead. For the river to have life, it needs to have a flow. Likewise, a healthy heart needs to have a pulse under control and music a rhythm under control. If the pulse becomes too much (ecstatic), the heart is sick. Even so, music that has too much rhythm becomes sick.

“When pulsation and syncopation are the rhythmic foundation of the music at a dance hall, the movements of the dancers can invariable seen to become very sensual.” –English sociologist Simon Frith

Rhythm- Last in Priority: Because rhythm is the aspect of music that directly affects the body, it ought to be kept under control. Revisiting the “Amazing Grace” clips, the first piece had a rhythm kept under control while the second version had an excessive amount of unnatural rhythm eliciting inappropriate movements. We can see through the rhythm for what type of music is Godly and not Godly by the movements it elicits from the body.

Satan desires to misplace the believer’s focus away from the spiritual to the physical. He wants us to take our eyes off of the Lord and get caught up in temporal things. Whereas the physical out to be kept in check, the devil desire to make the physical our priority. This can carry over to music. Just as the Christian who places priorities on the physical things in life is sensual, even so music that is primarily focused on rhythm is sensual.

Just as the body ought to be kept in check in the Christian life and be last in priority, even so ought the rhythm in a believer’s music.

Something just to think about: What does the common CCM worship band in modern Christian churches today normally comprise? While there is most certainly variances from church to church, Dr. Garlock points out a normal composition of 5 instruments: drums and bass guitars as 4 rhythmic instruments and a lead guitar to carry the melody (again, this is not a given for each modern church). What is interesting about this is that this is composed of 75% rhythm, and also that which utilizes the backbeat (make note that the backbeat is also utilized in bringing about music predominated by rhythm). Do you see something wrong in this picture? Why is the physical aspect of music being brought out over the spiritual aspect in worship to God? The melody ought to have prominence, followed by the harmony, and then a rhythm kept in check.

Invading the Intimate Zone

When is the last time someone has invaded your intimate zone? Dr. Garlock talks about the different social zones in people. In a normal conversation, we keep our distance. If someone is getting too close, we may begin to feel uncomfortable with the thought that they are invading our personal space. The intimate zone is about 6 inches from you. Through studies and research, it has been proven that these social zones exist in the realm of music (“Music in the Balance” by Garlock and Woetzel).

Have you ever wondered why there are rock, rap, and other styles of songs in which the performer sings with a very breathy, whispery voice right up next to the microphone? This does not come accidentally in a voice, mind you, but rather done intentionally. There is a purpose in doing this. When this is done as research has shown, it invades your intimate zone. This technique is used to further create an inappropriate response on the audience’s part. Sadly, this technique of the breathy, whispery voice right up next to the microphone has infiltrated into Christian music and breaches that zone.

………….

If you have made it this far… congratulations! I’d give you something, but I have nothing available (that was heartfelt…hehe) … oh except for a couple questions *shift back to serious mode*: …

Why is this music being used to worship a holy and perfect God? What concord hath Christ with Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)? What happens when the devil’s music is used to worship God?”

This last question leads us to an important passage of Scripture in which we will see what happened when the Israelites did just that.

The Golden Calf- Offering the Devil’s Music to a Holy God

The context: Moses has been on the top of Mount Sinai for 40 days receiving the law from God. Before going down, God warns Moses, “…Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 32:7-8)”

Moses and Joshua then descend the mountain. (keep in mind that Moses has full-knowledge of what is happening down at the camp while Joshua is unaware, having not been told.)

“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” -Exodus 32:17-19

A Problem Detected: From the sound that Joshua heard in the camp, he realized that there was something wrong. The music he heard notified him of something amiss for he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” This sound that he heard was not normal; something had changed over the 40 days of being on Mount Sinai away from the people. The music communicated a message- “Moses, there is something wrong in the camp!” What was this sound?

Perplexed, Joshua goes on to say that this sound of war was not the sound of those who are victorious or of those who have been defeated. It was a confusing sound… he couldn’t put his finger on it… it was a sound that notified Joshua something was not right…

The word that Joshua used to describe this strange sound was that of singing, that comes from the Hebrew 6301 ‘aw-naw’, which means: “(possibly rather identical with H6030 through the idea of looking down or browbeating); to depress literally or figuratively, transitively or intransitively (in various applications)- abase self, afflict (-ion, self), answer self, deal hardly with, defile, exercise, force, gentleness, humble (self), hurt, ravish, sing, speak, submit self, weaken, X in any wise” -this was a sensual sound, a sound of confusion. This is also further affirmed by the fact that the Israelites’ actions were sensual and in rebellion against God. Although the text does not say the exact sound, we can gather characteristics of this sensual sound- confusion, rebellion, a sound that promoted sensual actions. All in all, there was sin in the camp. They were using this music to worship the golden calf which in their mind was JEHOVAH God.

When Moses saw this sensual activity, he threw down the Ten Commandments that God had just given him and broke them. This action signified to the Israelites that they already broken God’s law. God was sick with this sin. Here were the children of Israel attempting to worship God their own way with sensual music, actions, and the golden calf… and in reality worshiping the devil.

And yet sadly, how many Christians come to God today using the devil’s music to worship a holy God? Christ said in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Not only are we to have the right heart attitude in our worship, but Scripture also commands us to worship God God’s way (according to the Scripture) not ours. Remember Cain, David, and the golden calf? Friends, ought we really to be using this sensual music to worship our holy God? It does not work. God about had it with the Israelites…. and yet, we are doing similar to that of the Israelites in our attempt to worship God.

I have had friends tell me of CCM performers that they love God very, very much. Please understand that I do not question their love for God at all; I’m sure they do; in fact, I know without a doubt Christians who love the Lord and are on fire for Him that listen to this certain music. I do not wish at all to judge their hearts; only God knows the heart. Yet what Scripture commands us as believers to do though is discern if the channel through which the message is coming through is Scriptural. The motives may be right, but is the channel and/or method Scriptural? Remember, a right heart attitude without following God’s principles is not acceptable to God.

What’s wrong with using sensual music while swaying back and forth to it with a whole bunch of people in an attempt to worshipping God? The Israelites attempt was condemned by God. Not only this, but this music is focused on the physical with the driving beat (not the spiritual) eliciting the sensual bodily movements and goes against the natural creation of music. This music is not ministering to the spirit but to the body… and it is sadly fooling Christians.

Many a church is out on the battlefield for Christ and have left its back doors wide open through which Satan has crept in through the medium of music- one of his greatest tools. The devil has been especially affective because many Christians have labeled the music topic as a matter of personal taste. Oh yes, there’s someone behind this sensual music- there’s an angel of light. The arguments for using this music are honestly quite convincing as well that we have to use this sensual music to reach the lost generation for Christ. “You’ve got to conform to the new cultural trends.”

After all, I have been told, “Look at all the good that has come out of using this Christian Rock/Rap music.” Again, please understand that I do not question the results. I know of people who have given me this witness. But, just because God uses something for good, does that mean the Lord thereby condones it? God brought good out of the evil Nazi camps in Germany, but God in no way condoned what the Nazis did. God used the time when Joseph was thrown into the pit and sold into slavery by his own brothers to save many people in the future 7 year famine, but God did not condone the hateful actions of Joseph’s brothers. What am I trying to point out in all of this? Friends, God works all things out for good (Genesis 50:20 & Romans 8:28), and God will work in spite of the circumstance. Why God does this is beyond me. All I can say is that this is the amazing grace of our God!  With that said however, just because there may be good results coming from this sensual music does not mean God condones of this channel and/or method. God desires us as believers to be “proving what is acceptable unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:10)” in the spirit of love and discernment and living by His Word.

Ought we to be using this music when God’s Word offers some clear principles on the subject of music and basic grasp of what is Godly music and what is worldly music? Also, since when does Scripture tell us as Christians to build our lives on the latest cultural trends over against the Word of God? Psalm 40 did not say the old song full of noise and confusion draws many people to Christ. It is the new, Godly song- distinct from the worldly song that causes the lost world to see this difference in believers as 2 Corinthians 5:17 communicates. The question is: are they going to see this difference in the area of music?

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” –Romans 12:2

If someone was passing outside your church and could only hear the music and no singing, what type of music would they hear- rock and roll, rap, other sensual music or Godly music? Would they hear a difference between Godly music and worldly music? Would they hear a difference between the old, worldly and the new, Godly song that ought to be present in the lives of a believer? Would it sound just like sensual music? Is the music in your home as a believer the same or different from your lost neighbors’ home? Are all things becoming new (2 Corinthians 5:17)? Friends, Scripture clearly shows that there ought to be a distinction. Let not the lost world say, “Oh, those Christians use the same music that we do. There’s no difference.”

Charles Spurgeon said it well, “One reason the church has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.” The world has had so much influence over the church in the area of music. It is very sad to see, but unfortunately it is the painful case across Christianity in our country.

Imagine if a John Phillip Susa march or a church hymn was played in a bar room. What would the response be? That music would be immediately tossed out because it does not fit the setting; it does not elicit the sensual movements. And yet while the world won’t tolerate Godly music, churches have embraced the world’s sensual music and use it to worship God in the house of God. We have conformed to the world in the area of music; we have dropped our guard and the devil has jumped right in and uses his music in the church. This music is not God-glorifying; it is glorifying the devil. How do we expect the world to see a difference in believers when we live just like the world?

To Ponder: What would Joshua be saying upon hearing the Contemporary Christian Music (rock, rap, etc) that is coming from churches across the nation? Would it be something similar to what he said to Moses when he heard this strange noise? “Lord, there’s a problem in the camp of Christianity.”

Quick Summarization: We have gone through Scripture and explored the points that God is musical, the devil is musical, the morality of music, whose the believer’s music ought to reflect, the nature of music as well as the backbeat, and important parallel on what ought to have dominance in a believer’s life and musical choices, and why the devil’s music cannot be used to worship a holy God.

A Biblical Solution:

Where do we go from here? Music used in worship to God ought to follow the natural rhythmic patterns which God has created and have lyrics that reflect Colossians 3:16- “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” But don’t you see how cool this is? When we have this Biblical foundation in music, we have freedom to create all kinds of music. God is a God of creativity. He wants us to enjoy that which He has made and use it to reflect His glory (as we stay inside His basic principles). Just some examples artists with newer hymns (I’m sure there are more but here are just a couple examples): Hamilton, Lynch, Garlock, The Wilds.

Christians, I do want to make a note that if we are using the new, Godly song (Psalm 40) from which many will see and come to Christ, then we are going to need to have some joy and enthusiasm in this new song.  Too many times do we sing songs of praise to God, yet by the pitiful looks on our faces, one would never know we truly meant what we were singing.

Psalms 33:2-4 says, “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.”

Scripture tells us to sing unto God this new song that He has given us as believers (distinct from the old) and play skillfully with literally a joyful noise.

The truth does still apply: wrong heart attitude with Godly music is not acceptable to God just as a right heart attitude with wrong music is unacceptable. God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

Even music outside the church in the life of a believer that is secular yet inside the basic principles of God’s Word reflects the glory of God. After all, God is the creator of music, and music (based off of God’s natural design of it) with appropriate words (if lyrics are included) reflects the beauty and creativity of our Creator God. We see the wonder of the Lord’s creation through the beauty of music. You see friends, what Scripture gives us in the issue of music is a basic guideline for the music in the believer’s life. Once inside God’s guideline, there is much freedom to what music we can choose. Let’s not use sensual music I will say this though: if anything, even if it’s good music, takes priority to our relationship with God, then it is not right.

Is the new song God has given you as a believer evident in your life? Is the joy and love of Christ flowing through your life so that the lost world around can see a difference by the way you live and the love of Jesus you show?

Concluding Remarks and Recommendations:

Thank you so very much for taking the time to read through all of this! I pray everything has come across in the spirit of love as we have delved into this issue on music and what the Bible has to say. If you are at all interested in looking to develop a Biblical music philosophy, I would recommend the following resources to be read/viewed in the order as given, all with your Bible in hand:

1. “Sound Roots” by Dana Everson (book)

2. “The Power of Music” by Ben Everson (audio sermon)

3. “The Language of Music” by Frank Garlock (6-part video series)

4. “Music in the Balance” by Frank Garlock and Kurt Woetzel

There are more valuable resources out there on this topic, but I will only recommend that which I have fully listened to/read.

Sources used in the paper other than the Bible: “Sound Roots” by Dana Everson (recommended), “Music in the Balance” by Frank Garlock and Kurt Woetzel (recommended), “The Power of Music” by Ben Everson (recommended), “Principles of Worship and Music” by Ben Everson (recommended), “Christian Rock” audio series by David Byers (while Mr. Byers brings forth some very good material, I would not recommend it, definitely to someone who is looking at music from the other side, because of some disagreements that I would have with some points that he makes), “Oh Be Careful Little Ears” by Kimberly and Lee Smith (not recommended- reason: only read small portion)

May God richly bless you all as you follow His leading. Thank you for your time and have a great day!

 

Because of Christ,

Daniel Diedrich